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Property and construction sector taking lead on net zero challenge, reveals Brabners Lancashire event

Property and construction sector taking lead on net zero challenge reveals Brabners Lancashire event

Leading businesses from the property and construction sector are developing new partnerships and innovative ways to help the UK meet its net zero commitments, despite changes in government policy and economic challenges.

Sector leaders and professionals recently took part in a passionate and informative quarterly Brabners Building Links event, held at our Lancashire office, which focused on net zero and the green agenda.


The UK's journey to net zero

Our Partner and environmental law specialist Rob Biddlecombe's expertise includes acting for developers, investors and the public sector on regulatory issues associated with the built environment.

Speaking at the event, he set out the UK’s political journey to its current net zero targets, how this has impacted the regulatory landscape and the challenges facing the built environment sector in contributing to the UK’s net zero commitments.

Attendees also heard from Gemma Cornwall, a Director, building surveyor and sustainability adviser at Viridium, who discussed how buildings can be retrofitted and made more energy efficient in an effort to become carbon neutral, and the commercial benefits of doing so.


Skills transition

Steve Dobney and Adam Raw from Burnley College outlined how the college is addressing the skills transition from old to new heating technology (pointing to an innovative partnership with Worcester Bosch) and has transformed its technical teaching facilities to attract new students. This includes the launch of a new Sustainability Hub.


Learnings from our Q&A session

Rob Biddlecombe also hosted a lively Q&A session with Zowi Whittaker, Group Sustainability and Environmental Director at Fox Group. Zowi shared details of Fox’s innovative partnership with Volvo, which has seen the company transition from diesel to battery electric heavy trucks and the introduction of Volvo FE Electric tippers into its fleet — the first of their kind to be delivered anywhere in the UK.

Zowi was joined on the panel by Alban Cassidy, Chartered Environmentalist and Director at Cassidy + Ashton. Alban outlined the recent updates to planning regulations which reflect the Government’s efforts to ensure sustainable development for the future and the mandatory requirement to protect and enhance the natural environment through the emergence of Biodiversity Net Gain – which will affect planning applications made after November 2023. 


The Government's changing climate strategy

In September 2023, UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak announced that the UK would push back the deadline for some parts of the Government’s climate strategy. This includes the extension of the 2030 ban on the sale of new petrol and diesel cars to 2035, and a delay in the phasing out of gas boilers.

Our Partner Jennie Jones, who hosted the event, said:

“The real estate sector contributes 39% of global emissions, so clearly the industry has a key role to play in helping the UK to meet its green targets. There are huge challenges facing the real estate sector in its attempt to reduce emissions, from changing government policies to tough economic conditions.

Despite this backdrop, our diverse panel highlighted how the private sector is taking its own lead to help tackle the UK’s climate targets. Our guest speakers and attendees shared evidence of investment, entrepreneurial spirit and real passion to take action. This spirit was also evidenced in our recently launched ‘True North’ report, where we identified that businesses do have the power to impact climate change, rather than waiting from directives from the top.

There was so much passion in the room, the race to net zero is clearly a challenge that the industry is up for.”

The next Brabners Building Links event will be held in January 2024, with the exact date to be confirmed soon. Property and construction professionals interested in attending the next event can enquire by contacting

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